Lance Gross The Last Fall

Gentlemen's Corner: Lance Gross Talks 'The Last Fall' and His Most Vulnerable Role

Lance Gross The Last Fall

Imagine having to choose between your life-long passion and the love of your life. Probably wouldn't be able to make such a tough call, right? Well, Lance Gross was forced into the decision in his most recent independent feature The Last Fall. In the Matthew Cherry-directed film, Gross plays a 25-year-old retired NFL player whose financial slump finds him moving back home with his mother (Vanessa Bell Calloway) and falling back in love with his ex-girlfriend (Nicole Beharie). But when a call comes in from his agent to revive his dream again, he weighs healing his broken family and rebuilding with his first love or finding fame (and money) back on the turf.

Gross delves into one of his most honest roles to date. On the surface, the love storyline intertwined with life's hardship is a heard-it-all-before tale of a down-and-out character finding the silver lining in life but this particular version has a healthy amount of vulnerability and a dose of humor for a clap-clap-bravo moment at the credits.

Vixen caught up with the chocolate cutie for a chat about his most respected role, the athletes who he admires and why he salutes (one of our faves!) Kerry Washington. -- Niki McGloster
Lance Gross The Last FallVIBE Vixen: Tell me what kind of feedback you were getting about the movie when it first aired.
Lance Gross:
Aw, man it was great feedback. I was actually surprised that people liked it as much as they did. Out of all of my movies, this is probably the most respected one, so I was happy with the response. The fans seem to love it

Why do you think fans had such a great reaction to this role compared to your others?
Because I feel like it just showed me in a different light. This was my realest project as an actor. I just feel like I dived all the way into this one and just went balls to the wall.

How do you get prepared for a role like this?
I spent a lot of time talking to the director, Matt Cherry. Basically this is his story; this is kind of his life. So I just spent a lot of time talking to him, picking his brain, picking anybody’s brain that I knew was involved in the NFL, from coaches to players. I actually worked out with Ellis Hobbs; he gave me his workout regimen. I wanted it to be as authentic as possible, if anybody from the NFL went to see this movie or saw this movie, I wanted them to be able to relate to the character I was playing.

If you had to make a decision between career and love, which would you chose and why?
It’s a hard question because you have to have a balance. I don’t think I could live without either of them. I have to work it out where I can have a balance between the two.

Definitely. How closely did you relate to this character?
It’s very relatable because the careers are kinda the same. Nothing is promised to you as far as I’m concerned when it comes to my career as an actor or a career as an NFL star. It can all be taken away from you like that. We have to bust our heads with auditions and hope that we get the job, it's not promised.  We have to go out there and work hard to the best of our abilities.

Spoken like a true athlete, so tell me the top 3 athletes whose drive you admire.
Of course, Michael Jordan, he’s the hardest worker I know and everybody respects him. To this day he’s number 1. Also, Kobe Bryant. He has that same drive. I really respect Bo Jackson, too, because he did football and baseball. He’s a hard worker. I look up to hard workers, anybody that has the drive to do what they do to make it happen. 

Lance Gross and The Last FallVV: What was it like working with Nicole Beharie?
LG: Nicole is a beast. I respect her so much; I was really very excited to work with her. I think she upped my game. You can’t half ass it when you’re working with greats and I definitely consider her great.

What was one of the specific lessons you would learn from her, whether on set or off camera?
Just hanging with her and picking her brain and researching with her during the character work, she carries herself like a lady and you don’t see that every day. It’s a breathe of fresh air to see. She just has a way about her and it's very respectable. I love her like a friend.

So more projects with you two in the future, hopefully?
Yeah, of course.

The chemistry seems pretty effortless on screen, and even you playing Kyle. What was one of the most difficult things for you to learn or to grasp about the role?
I had to be an actor and producer [on this project] and sometimes I had to turn off the producer side and just focus on the actor side because they can definitely take away from each other. As far as the character, it was just being open and vulnerable. Even though I was acting, these were moments that nobody was supposed to be watching, personal moments, so I had to keep it real with myself and be open to show that vulnerability.

Laz Alonzo and he discussed the same thing about his role in Deception with us recently, so it’s interesting that you say that.
Yeah, a lot of guys don’t want to show that side. We try to act like it doesn't exist when it really does.

What are some dream projects you'd like to work on as a producer?
Any project that’s good is a dream for me. This is something I want to do more of as I grow. I just love good projects, so I would want to be apart of anything that’s bomb. It doesn’t have to be a feature film; sometimes the independent films are better. I just saw Common’s LUV and I’ve noticed that the independent films are beating out the big budget films because they happen to be realer films. There’s more passion involved. I’m not going to limit myself saying that I’d only do features, I’ll only do independents, I won’t do documentaries. I’ll do whatever’s good.

What else can we expect this year for you?
Next is Confessions of a Marriage Counselor on March 29.

Cool, and lastly, tell me someone that you would like to salute in black Hollywood right now?
Definitely, Kerry Washington. I just saw Django. I just heard that the scene with Leonardo DiCaprio, when he wiped the blood on her face, that was actually his blood. He’s getting a lot of praise for that but that takes a lot of praise from Kerry to not break character. So definitely want to tip my hat to Kerry, she’s also doing her thing in Scandal.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.

Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.


Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...


— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

Continue Reading
Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

Continue Reading
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.


View this post on Instagram


I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

Continue Reading

Top Stories